The primary goal of the European Evaluation Society is to promote the theory, practice and utilization of high quality evaluation in Europe and beyond. This goal is pursued inter alia by bringing together academics, policy makers and practitioners, by setting up events and by offering platforms that connect relevant disciplines, partners and sectors and encourage knowledge exchange, good practice dissemination, professional co-operation and bridge building. In order to further these aims, the EES board has identified four strategic policy directions that will guide our activities. They are summarized below.
Strategic priority 1: Working with and supporting the development of evaluation societies within and outside Europe.
With support from NESE we propose to work closely with national societies within the EU. More focused engagement with the evaluative processes undertaken in EU institutions, including the European Parliament, is also envisaged. This dimension of our work is predicated on a brokering, sponsoring or enabling role in which the EES identifies ways in which capacity, collaboration and partnerships can develop and through which ‘buddy’ systems of support can emerge. World-wide EES will continue to contribute to the EvalPartners’ initiative in close coordination with IOCE. We also plan to reach out to developing countries in collaboration with regional associations, IDEAS and development assistance agencies.
Strategic priority 2: Thematic working groups (TWGs).
Our thematic working groups are intended to enhance cooperation among subgroups of EES members, mobilise their scattered energies and coordinate their activities within specialized areas of interest. Five TWGs are currently active. They have launched various initiatives, sponsored special issues of Connections and participated actively in EES Conferences. The main strategic priorities under this heading are twofold: (i) to increase the number of TWGs by identifying dynamic EES members willing to lead such groups; and (ii) to reach out to other evaluation associations and encourage thematic evaluation partnerships across borders as agreed with NESE.
Strategic priority 3: Capacity development and professionalization.
Pre-conference workshops have been the mainstay of EES contributions to skills development. In addition, EES has developed and adopted an evaluator capabilities framework. EES now proposes to set up a distinctive thematic group dedicated to evaluation education and training. As a follow up to systematic Professionalization TWG’s surveys and efforts a workshop co-directed by UKES and EES was held in April 2014. It recommended the implementation of a Voluntary Evaluator Peer Review pilot project. The EES board endorsed this recommendation. Fund raising, coalition building and the set up of a distinct VEPR group will be pursued in the year ahead.
Strategic priority 4: Improving the EES financial situation
This perennial challenge is still with us. In recent years the EES board has tightened financial management and reporting. The Society has also adopted cost containment measures and updated its membership fee policy. Looking ahead, the Society will focus on maximising revenue from its Conferences, expanding its individual and institutional membership base and strengthening fund raising.